Olia Sosnovskaya

Work exhibited in the Trade Fair Palace:

Slides For Lecture-performance / 2024 / multimedia instalation / video loop, digital collage, animation (51 min)

Outdoors, Gunpowder Burns Quietly. In a Closed Space Gunpowder Explodes. / 2024 / installation / digital collages, digital prints on metal (each 20 × 30 cm) / courtesy of the artist

Biennale Matter of Art 2024, National Gallery Prague – Trade Fair Palace (c) Jonáš Verešpej

The artwork of Olia Sosnovskaya (lives in Vienna, b. Minsk (Bělorusko), 1988) is inspired by the protests that took place in Belarus in 2020. The people of Belarus disagreed with the rigged presidential elections and protested against political violence, censorship, and attacks on human rights. They marched, sang, danced, and disrupted official events to demand change. Despite their efforts, the authorities did not meet their demands and subjected them to even more violence. Some people were killed, and many went to prison. One can say that the uprising failed. However, the artist thinks that this failure is not the end. She thinks that people in prison, in anti-war resistance, and in exile, learned so much that they cannot live as if nothing happened. The artist created metal plates and video that show protests, paths, actions, and demands in the form of a score. Many people know scores as the tool to transcribe music and sound into written form, so it can be performed many times. But what if not only music, but also political movements and a wish for change can be scored? We can practice and improve social struggles, even if they don’t succeed at first. Social struggle does not end with failure, but can be rehearsed in the future. For example, in 2022, people organized networks of mutual support that helped resist the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Without the experience gained from previous struggles, this resistance would not have been possible.

From the artists's archive

Olia Sosnovskaya is an artist, writer, and cultural organizer based in Vienna, Austria. She is currently completing a PhD in practice program at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna. Her artistic and research practice intertwines performance with text-based and visual arts, addressing forms of political organizing, protest choreographies, movement scores, and the intersections of festivity and the political within post-socialist contexts and beyond. She is a co-founder of the self-organized platform Work Hard! Play Hard!, which deals with the issues of work, leisure, and non-institutional infrastructures and knowledge. She is also a member of the artistic-research group Problem Collective, which focuses on strikes, archives and reading practices, and tools for engagement with overseen histories and social struggles. Her collective and individual works have been presented at institutions such as Tanzquartier (Vienna), Kunsthalle Wien Karlsplatz (Vienna), HAU (Berlin), Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw, Display (Prague), Mystetskyi Arsenal (Kyiv), the Kyiv Biennial, e-flux (New York), and «Ў» Gallery (Minsk), among others.